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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  January 16, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PST

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the white house briefing. there may be a learning curve here. we'll see. >> it's a good message to the world to have reporters working right along side covering every second of the administration. >> all you have to do is look to the west wing. >> rob lowe for all of it. >> it's appreciated. >> thanks for joining us at this hour, guys. >> inside politics with john king starts now. >> thank you, kate and john. welcome to "inside politics." a beautiful view of the united states capital there. you see the inauguration planning down at the bottom of the steps. thanks for sharing your time today. the nation marks mathin luther king someday and counts down to donald trump's inauguration as our 45th president. the president-elect is meeting with martin luther king iii today, and this morning he tweeted this. "celebrate martin luther king day and all of the many wonderful things that he stood for. honor him for being the great man that he was." well, that's a nice tone. all good, right? if you can wave a magic wand and erase the past, whether it be
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trump's cheerleader role in the birther movement, questioning president obama's legitimacy or his new war of words with a civil rights icon who now questions the legitimacy of trump's victory. trump over the weekend labelled congressman john lewis, "all talk" after the georgia democrat told nbc he viewed trump as an illegitimate president. this past hour lewis spoke to an mlk event in miami. >> i said to you as young men, the future leaders of this state, the future leaders of this nation, the future leaders of the world, you must never ever hate the way of love is a better way. the way of peace is a better way. so i said to you as role models, never give up, never give in, stand out, speak up. when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to
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say something and not be quiet. >> read into that what you like. no direct reference to trump there, but you get the point. team trump thinks lewis owes the president-elect an apology. lewis allies see it the other way around. not the respectful even optimistic tone we usually attach to inauguration week. the world is now learning a lesson where, if you thought a president trump would be less combative or controversial than candidate trufrp, well, think go en. china is warning the president-elect today to dial back his provocative rhetoric about taiwan and trade, and european allies are alarmed after an interview in which trump insults germany's chancellor and, again, calls the nato alliance obsolete. interesting times. with us to share the reporting and insights, cnn jeff zellany, molly ball, jackie kusinich and manu raju. let's start with the dust-up between the president-elect of the united states, four more
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days, and congressman john lewis. lewis started it. he is a civil rights icon and a democratic politician who decided right before inauguration week to say he is an illegitimate president. may their example be our sign for a call to action. no direct reference to the illegitimate argument, but michelle obama can't be unaware of the timing. >> just the moment in time we're living in. yes, mr. lewis started it this week, but if you talk to democrats who are close to him -- ooich not spoken to him, but they believe that donald trump started it early on with barack obama. for years questioning his citizenship and other things. this is congressman lewis, a
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very smart congressman, but as you said, a democratic politician. he knows exactly what he is doing, and now there are more than 25, maybe it's up to 27 or 28 members of congress, democrats who are not coming to the inauguration. this is kind of sad on one hand, i think, because there is going to be a transfer of power. i was talking to tim scott last night, the republican south carolina african-american senator, and he stands with john lewis on this in terms of donald trump. this may have been one of the tweets he should have let go, he told me. he didn't. he immediately maligned his district. i don't know. equating maybe because he is an african-american congressman that his district is poor. it was so offensive how he decided take it to him and his
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district and something he could have just walked away from and rose above. if you want to answer -- there's a different way to do it. he could have said disappointed to hear that. john lewis, i wish you would give me a chance and i would love to sit down and talk to you about this. there are many ways he could have been more diplomatic, but he is who he is. >> there's nothing that angers trump more than questioning the legitimacy of his presidency, and that's the whole reason why or at least he could speculate the reason why he is so skeptical of russia's involvement in the election and russia having an impact. he is -- anybody who is questioning his legitimacy, he is going to push back very, very, very intensely. >> what does it tell you about the time we're sitting in. normally someone wins and somebody loses in a presidential election. the other party always has sour feelings or hard feelings still, but this is the week they say,
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okay, it's time to celebrate our democracy and say we're going to give the new president a chance. we don't have any of that. what does this dust-up tell us about john lewis and donald trump, but more broadly about, a, the new president's relationship maybe with the african-american community, but the democrats, and that building behind us whose support he is going to need to get big things done. >> it is clearly never been in trump's nature to back down to apologize, to decline to respond to someone he feels has provoked him. i think we can expect that to be the nature of his presidency going forward. as you said, inauguration week traditionally a time to bring the country together at least symbolically, if not in actual fact, and to give the big speech about how it's all one america and we're all in this together. i think that trump's actions over the past weekend have indicated that no matter what the words are in that speech, it is not going to be the case that he is able to bring people together at the point of his presidency that ought to be the sort of peak unity moment. >> the question is how does that translate going forward? what does that mean for policy?
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what does that mean for the way he actually attempts to govern? is he doing damage to himself with the people he sees as his opponents on the other side of the aisle, that he will not be able to recover? >> john, you can see the debate happening also within the democratic party. about how to work with trump. members who want to stand firm and want to resist the trump presidency, and you mentioned the african-american community. trump getting about, what, 8% of the african-american vote. that's where you are seeing so much resistance on capitol hill from the congressional black caucus, people who do represent districts with large african-american voters. those are the folks that are so skeptical of donald trump's presidency. you saw that happen when they were choctawing the electoral college vote. a number of them trying to object while they were doing it in the house of representatives.
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this debate playing out within the democratic party will see which wing wins the liberals or the moderates when they start the debate policy. >> we mentioned the tone you could possibly take. listen to vice president elect who made a stop at the martin luther king memorial. he was asked on fox news this morning what he thinks of congressman lewis calling president-elect trump illegitimate. >> you'll see president-elect trump take the oath of office, speak to the nation in his inaugural address surrounded by four of the five living presidents. it is -- it is a testament to the world and the vibrancy of our democracy, and for someone of john lewis's stature to lend credibility to the baseless assertions of those who question the legitimacy of this election is deeply disappointing. i hope he reconsiders it. >> we'll see if he reconsiders it. i don't think he will, but the reality here is this is a bit of
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an academic exercise. an important one because as manu said, it affects policy. how can this get done? the reality here is democrats don't want to believe it on friday in four days. donald trump will be sworn in as the 45th president. this is something that's happening now. i would not be at all surprised if there is in the future a meeting with the president-elect or the president then in john lewis or something. john lewis has drawn attention to this. he is a very -- he likes to bring history into things, and i think that he may ultimately rise above it. we'll see. this is -- it's a side show, an important side show on a day like this, but the reality is donald trump will be the next president. >> to use the word illegitima illegitimate -- you should find it. you should go and find that speech. it's a history lesson because he is such an iconic and amaze, remarkable hero in american civil rights history. this is, no disrespect to the congressman -- this is a partisan democratic salvo here.
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to call the republican president-elect illegitimate -- you can say i'm not going to his inaugural and i have so many disagreements with him, and he hasn't reached out to me, maybe we'll get to it later. there are a lot of different ways to protest. to use that word, we know how sensitive the president-elect is about this. he is looking to start something. >> coming from john lewis and a lot of the cdc's perspective, they just dealt with donald trump calling president obama the first african-american president illegitimate for the better part of eight years. i don't want to question his motivations. maybe he actually does believe that in his heart, and, you know, that does seem to be a little bit of a tit for tat. mike pence, again, you've seen him do this before. he is the voice of reason. he is the one who handled this as a politician, as and frankly as an executive would.
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we have an escalation with the war with the intelligence community. members of his national security team -- i talk about how much respect they have in the intelligence community. listen here to the outgoing cia director john brennan on fox news. >> i don't think he has a full appreciation of russian capabilities, russia's intentions and actions that they are undertaking. that's the responsibility of the intelligence community. he does not yet, i think, have a full appreciation understanding of what the implications are of going down that road. >> again, the president-elect has a choice to make. let it go, say nothing, say something diplomatic, or be
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donald trump. at fox news -- does not fully understand. oh really? couldn't be much worse. >> was this the leaker of fake news? >> interesting thing here is what john brennan is saying is not that much different than what a lot of republicans are saying. even though brennan said it in a much more pointed fashion. a lot of -- republicans are saying, well, when trump learns more about russia and about putin, he is not going to give them a pass. he is going to realize how bad of a person he is. how much of a thug in the words of some republicans. it's not much different. he is there being a lot more careful because they know they could have evoked a donald trump tweet storm. >> it also sounded like what some of his cabinet nominees said last week who are all to a person much more hard line on russia and putin. that is the sort of -- the buzzsaw that's coming here. i thaw brennan's remarks were, you know -- he knew what he was
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saying too. >> i'm the old guy at the table. i go back to -- i was here for george h.w. bush. it was my first inaugural here in approximate washington d.c. i don't remember the environment being like this. >> the thing about trump that i think is going to be most disruptive to sort of the culture of washington d.c. is just how high a tolerance he has for conflict. the tendency is -- >> he enjoys it. he seems to thrive on it. >> to try to make peace and make everybody friends and shake hands. trump is happy to have 100 ongoing feuds. one in every corner. he is never going to back down. i think he correctly sees he is the most powerful man in the free world. he has all the leverage. he is not going to need anything from any of these people before they are going to need something from him, so he counts on he never apologizes, and eventually they come to his door. they come knocking hat in hand and they're the ones who have to say they're sorry. >> except for votes on this one thing. >> he will need congress. >> mark was quoted in a weekend newspaper, the south carolina -- who said donald trump now has 535 bosses.
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he has never had one before. differing perspectives here in washington. to your point, trump loves conflict. a lot of people are, like, why has he been doing this? he thrives on it. he thinks even if it's messy, it moves the ball his way. even an inch at a time. we'll see as we go forward. just ahead, president-elect trump says repeal of obama care will still mean insurance for all. can he keep that promise? uh, you asked to see me, coffee? yeah, listen, sugar, we're, uh... lettin' you go.
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yeah, then how'd i get this... ...allstate safe driving bonus check? ...only allstate sends you a bonus check for every six months you're accident free. silence. it's good to be in, good hands. welcome back. the early days of obama care repeal and replace effort have been messy. republicans have the votes to repeal, but are deeply divided
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over the cost and the specifics of the replace part. president-elect says not to worry. in a weekend interview with the washington post trump promised a plan of his own that provides "we're going to have insurance for everybody. there was a philosophy in some circles if you can't pay for it, you don't get it. that's not going to happen with us." he said he wasn't ready to share details, but demanded swift action. he said congress can't get cold feet because the people will not let that happen. good for him. he campaigned on this. he said repeal and replace. tlfrp a lot of provisions that were popular. can't kick you off your insurance if you have preexisting conditions. kids should be able to stay in their parents' coverage until they're 26, but to the republicans in congress, insurance for everybody? is this who is going to pay? how? >> the reaction of most republicans that you talk to in congress to trump's remarks is somewhere on the spectrum between confusion and panic because they don't know about this plan that he is supposedly almost done with. and the things that he is saying that he is going to hold it to, the standard is not one that
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they expect him to be able to achieve under any of the range of plans that they are considering, and furthermore, a lot of the things that he said he wants to do, like negotiating prescription drug companies are liberal ideas that republicans that have been enacted by republicans for years and years. they are at a loss for how to figure this out. a lot of people on trump's team are much more sort of regular republicans familiar with the legislative process in the congress, but when he does interviews like this, trump is signaling i'm the one in control, i'm watching you guys, and i can use my tremendous bully pulpit to make you go in another direction if i feel like it. >> insurance for everybody could be something that comes back to bite him. i mean, republicans have been talking -- >> you like your daughtoctor, yn keep your doctor. something like that? >> republicans have been talking about instead of a universal mandate to have individual mandate to have universal access, and a lot of people could get coverage. does that mean that everybody will be covered? not necessarily. they're fatalking about tax credits to make sure people can
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purchase coverage. when you get into the details, how that works remains to be seen, but what's interesting about trump's remarks is that this is different than what they were talking about on capitol hill. they were talking about going piece by piece, not doing one full scale replacement plan, including some of the provisions of a new health care law in the repeal bill, doing things administratively when hhs secretary issue regulations. maybe do some specific things to the legislative process to replace. if trump is talking about coming with a full scale replace plan, that's not what they've been talking about. >> not to mention the speed. we're talking about congress here. this is not something that moves very quickly ever. this is at least two months away? i think on the high estimate. or the low temperature. acting like he could just push this through i think does -- is kind of apart from reality of when you talk about how things
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actually physically work on capitol hill. >> even if they agree with him. they don't necessarily agree with him. that makes it even slower. as you mentioned before, the price tag for this and everything else, it is going to be tabulated by this building probably more so than by the white house. that is a central challenge here, and, you know, i'm not sure on how wise it is for him to be phoning up a reporter saying we -- it looked like he was reacting to protests over the weekend that were covered all weekend long. hundreds and thousands of people in districts across the country were sfwhoo if donald trump sees
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other protests like themg and then suddenly says we're going to have insurance for everybody, hey, it doesn't sound very republican and market-based to your point about how you're going to do this. is this proof that this strategy by the democrats is at least -- or is this donald trump keeping fidelity with his campaign promise? >> i don't think we know yet. i don't think we know how this fight plays out. i think to jackie's point, if trump's plans and rhetoric runs smack dab into the bureaucratic reality of how the congress works in capitol hill, who wins that fight? >> he is trying to emulate these tea party tactics.
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they know it's a lot easier to oppose something than it is to propose something. now they're the opposition party. they can get their supporters out at these town hall rallies. president obama encouraged democrats to do that in the closed door meeting with house democrats. congressional democrats just a few weeks ago. that is clearly their strategy going forward, and hopefully they -- in their screw view they hope to get some of the republicans to buckle under pressure from the democrats. >> in the case of congressman lewis, it's the toxic environment with democrats. a lot of republicans after the election, we're saying, well, donald trump doesn't care about the details. he just wants victory laps. we will pass stuff, and he will sign it. it might bts be consistent with what he says, but if it's evidence that they got the wrong donald trump, that he will care about the details, then there's the issue of the wall and the interview with robert of the washington post, he says he wants a wall, his own homeland security secretary said in some places it might be more of a fence. donald trump says he wants his tariffs. a border tax. that if ford or gm or chrysler
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or whoever moves jobs to mexico and tries to sell their cars back here or any other product, he wants to slap a tear of on it. most republicans are cool to that. are we going to have by tweet and otherwise him negotiating legislation? >> it sounds like it, but my question is what does mike pence think about this? he has worked on capitol hill. he is going to play a very large role, we believe, in crafting the legislation. what does he think about this? he knows how difficult all of this is. the art of the deal is about business. it's different in legislation. it's one of the many unanswered open questions hanging over this. >> what is the process? does the white house come in propose legislation and just try to jam something through? or do they let the congressional committees take the lead role the way that the democrats did in the bill in 2009 and in obama care? that's a question too. z >> that's the way it used to work. welcome to the days of disruption. we live in a new world. the world, meet the donald.
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. welcome back. a little personnel news out of the trump transition. monica crowley, who for a long time has been a fox news personality, is about to join the national security council at the trump white house. doing extensive reporting about plagiarism by monica crowley, including in a 2012 book she wrote "the trump transition initially defended her, but we are now getting word she will not be joining the trump staff at the white house, will not be joining the national security council staff as a key spokeswoman. it's a staff job, but in terms of getting pushback, getting somebody out, is it significant? >> i think it's a s -- it actually does matter. it has seemed for a lot of opponents of trump that it doesn't matter what they throw at him because they just ignore it, and they issue very defiant statements like the one they initially issued in defense of monica crowley, but it turns out that if there's enough of an accumulation of stuff, i mean,
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it happened also for jason miller of the trump team, that there are some things you cannot survive in trump world, and from the outside it can seem arbitrary? >> we have tenacious diggers at cnn, including at the k file. kudos for them for finding it. shouldn't a personnel shop bringing people into an administration of the president of the united states be able to do this work too? >> no doubt about it. they are bringing in a ton of people here. i think to their defense, she is someone who is a known quantity. she's on television. she talks a lot. i think that, you know, this is one example. my guess is what she told people inside the organization probably ended up not being accurate. her first statement was it shouldn't plagiarize anything. then countless examples of other news organizations as well have come in since then. i think it's probably a good sign that the transition is willing to, you know, follow some protocol and deal with a problem. >> all right. let's move on to this unwith. the rest of the world now getting a taste of what we have been through the past year. plus, here in the united states,
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this question, what to make or how much to make of the outlandish and sometimes offensive things that donald trump says? angela merkel is the chancellor of germany, a critical u.s. ally on economic and security issues. vladimir putin is the president of russia. he bullies his neighbors and provides the war planes. asked who he trusts more merkel or putin, here's trump's answer to european journalists. >> do i start off trusting both, but we'll see how long that lasts. it may not last long at all. >> to make -- i know he says we'll see how long it lasts, but to even for a half a sentence essentially equate angela merkel and vladimir putin is a slap in the face and an insult to a critical u.s. ally and a key figure in the western alliance. he goes on in the same interview to say again as he did during the campaign, he thinks nato is obsolete. he contradicts himself a bit and saying there are parts of it that are good.
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we talk about the tone in washington, the uncertainty in washington. what about the world? >> let's go back and remember what trump has said about angela merkel throughout the campaign. he has been very critical of germany's refugee policy, and he -- continuously. then hillary clinton saida merk world leader. there is a little bit of history there. i'm not saying it's -- that's kind of where he is coming from. this is not someone that he has been -- he has revered in the past. he definitely has nicer things to say about -- >> hang on one second. to jackjackie's point. this is the interview from the times of london and the german magazine, bill. listen to the talk about merkel and her decision to let syrian refugees into -- >> i have great respect for her. >> i think she is a great, great leertd. i think she made one catastrophic mistake, and that was taking all of these
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illegals -- taking all of the people from wrherever they come from, are and nobody really knows where they come from. >> well, it's striking to me, and it could be a slip of the tongue, but they're refugees. he uses the term illegals as if he is -- >> he basically said these are all scary foreigners that were not doing enough to tell where they come from or to keep enough of them out, and i think his world view also has been very consistent in this sort of populist nationalism that he espouses which he sees of a piece with the brexit movement in the u.k. and of a piece with a lot of the nationalist movements across europe that oppose, you know, the centralization of power in the e.u., that oppose alliances like nato, as taking away countries national sovereignty.
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how in a plays out, i think, to your point the world is at least as on edge if not more so as washington d.c. about how this will translate into policy for trump because he has gone so far from the norms in terms of diplomacy and in terms of the things you are and are not allowed to say. the people you are and are not allowed to call upon the phone. do they decide the way it is and they disregard it, or do all of these things have consequences because that's how diplomacy -- >> also the warning of a terrifying german car manufacturers. 35% tariff. this is part of his putting tariffs on companies that ship jobs overseas. this time saying that for german cars selling them back into the u.s., if they're making their cars in mexico, they're going to get hit with a 35% tariff. i mean, that -- this is causing a lot of tension with america's key allies. >> it's also causing a lot of -- mexico is one of our key allies. it's causing tension in mexico too. the chinese are mad about the taiwan language, the one china policy, and also about trade.
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angela merkel saying she would not respond to donald trump saying as it's only polite to wait until he's actually president, which i think is the response. >> he thinks eventually that means things are going to come his way because of they're afraid of him going way out and they'll give him more of what he wants. >> we're also entering a totally new moment here. we can say, oh, this is how he did it in the campaign. starting friday at high noon, this is a very different moment here where everything has changed. it's a clean slate. i was talking to a couple of george w. bush republicans working his administration. horrified by those comments at angela merkel. president bush had a very strong relationship with her, as has president obama. >> michael gersten writing in
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the washington post today, narcissism, his fight with john lewis. everybody sit tight. up next, president obama says it's a shame he has to leave because, his words, i'm the best president i've ever been right now. it's my decision ito make beauty last. roc® retinol, started visibly reducing my fine lines and wrinkles in one week. and the longer i use it, the better it works. retinol correxion® from roc. methods, not miracles.™
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sfliencht four days and counting. president obama says he won't set an alarm friday night so that he can sleep in on saturday, and he is looking forward to living outside the bubble, but, well, isn't there always a but? >> there's some bittersweet feelings about leaving the people here because even though all the team you assemble you know you're going to stay in touch with them, it's not the same. you know, the band kind of breaks up.
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i think i'm -- i'm the best president i've ever been right now, and i think the team that is operating right now functions as well as any team that i've had, and so, you know, there is a part of you that thinks, man, we're pretty good at this stuff right now. you hate to see that talent disbur disburse. >> so extend the clock a little bit. this is the best he has ever been. give him another week, another month? >> he tried that, and the voters said something different back in november. i think, you know -- i think what he was saying i'm the best president i've ever been. he acknowledges this is a job where you learn on the job, and that's the irony that he knows how the processes work. the reality here the same change that brought him into office is the same change that is blowing him out of office. >> historians will look at that for a long time, but i'm the best president i've ever been right now. that's pretty loaded. we could sort of dissect that. >> what a difference a couple of years makes.
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remember, 2013 they try to get the immigration bill through after the election. that failed. then there was the syria red line that became a huge controversy. the health care.gov when he said in the same interview that the failure of health care.gov was one of his biggest mistakes or concerns coming into office, and then the 2014 midterms. democrats wanted nothing to do with president obama. he did not campaign with any of them. he stayed away from the campaign trail. they lost the senate. they turn around in 2015-2016 and his numbers were on the up swing. the economy is looking healthier. he was huge on the campaign trail for hillary clinton. he has reason to believe that things are looking good. >> he is very different than donald trump. i could say that 1,000 times. president obama is very different than president-elect trump, and, yet, like most politicians, both of them seem to have a hard time saying i got that one wrong or i'm sorry. listen to the president here defending, although he says he is not getting defensive, defending his decision back early in the syrian civil war to draw that red line about bashar
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al assad andc chemical weapons. >> i don't regret at all saying that if i saw bashir al assad using chemical weapons on his people, that would change my assessments of what we were or were not willing to do in syria? >> but you didn't say that. you said you drew the red line. >> no. >> would you take it back if you had the opportunity to take it back? >> the reason i'm hesitating is not to be defensive. it's simply, steve, that i would have, i think, made a bigger mistake if i had said, chemical weapons, that doesn't really change my calculus. >> perhaps that last part is true, but even a lot of democrats and just about every republican will say if a president of the united states, whatever his or her name, whatever his or her party, says if you cross this line, there will be consequences. and then that line is crossed and there are no consequences, a lot of people say that's led to an escalation. the middle east was a mess to
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begin with, but that it's worse because of that. >> no question. i think that was his inexperience at the time, and that was a spontaneous answer to a question about the red line, but there's no doubt about it. yes, he is popular, but there are deep questions that only history will have to answer about his foreign policy. it was not as strong, i think, and as successful as he had hoped, obviously, but just watching him saying i'm not being defensive. when a politician says i'm not being defensive, it's like when a politician says i'm being honest. it's not entirely true. >> it's not that there were other good options on the table. there were no good options. >> no. from horrible to terrible. >> he did put the credibility of -- not only of his own personal credibility but of the country on the line, and he said that, and then he didn't follow through. >> yeah, that's right. that's been one of the huge criticisms from the republican hawks and people in his own party and one of the blemishes on his record, which is why he was stuck defending that last night in that primetime
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interview. >> this answer here is both honest and a little funny. i don't mean that in a mean way at all. the president mentioned remember back when obama care passed. when as it was launching they had a little problem with homeland.gov. that gave republicans a great opening to say this is the gang that can't shoot straight. keystone cops. they don't know what they're doing. listen to the president trying to explain it. >> you know, if you know you got a controversial program and you're setting up a really big complicated website, says website better work on the first day or first week or first month. the fact that it didn't, obviously, lost a little momentum. that was clearly a management failure. >> there's no argument with that. >> and, yet, look at the tone that he says -- it is in a way kind of mind-boggling to see the pood that obama appears to be in as he leaves office. he has suffered a historic repudiation. his party has suffered huge losses over the time he has been in office. the successor that he tried to
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get elected did not get elected. many of his accomplishments are in doubt in the face of a new administration coming in that wants to undo everything, starting with all the executive orders that they can do pretty much right away, and on down through pretty much every significant policy achievement he passed, and, yet, he feels pretty good about himself. >> he is kind of chill about it, isn't he? >> he is pretty happy with himself. considering the sort of shock and dismay that so many of his own party and others who oppose trump are feeling across the country, i have to think it's a little jarring to see how good president obama seems to be feeling about everything. >> the door we go. everybody sit tight. four days to the inauguration. a warning from republicans to president-elect trump if he tries to keep that big campaign promise on nafta. oh, look... ...another anti-wrinkle cream in no hurry to make anything happen.
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welcome back. we lined our table with reporters, not pundits, so we can ask them to share a little nugget from their notebook, get you out ahead of the big political news around the corner. mr. zellany? it. >> with four more days left for president obama, one thing that is still living over him are pardons and commutations. it always happens at the end of every presidential time in office. one of the big requests of the many, many that are out there, rob blagojevich, the former illinois governor who is serving a long prison sentence i believe it was for 14 years or so in a colorado facility for corruption. his advisors and friends and everyone he knows has been lobbying this illinois president native -- chicago president to not pardon him, but to shorten his sentence. we'll see if that happens. i would be surprised if it happens because i remember from all those early days back at the
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"chicago tribune", there was not a lot of love lost between these two, but that's one of the many requests out there. shorten my prison sentence. >> it's always one of the crazy things in the final days. >> goes going to be a list. >> marc rich inauguration. >> well, only one member of the cabinet has not yet been nominated by the incoming trump administration, and that is the secretary of agriculture. may seem like a lower profile cabinet appointment, but it is incredibly important to rural america which, of course, was the strongest source of trump support in the election. they're watching this very closely, says and a lot of confusion and anger over the fact that there still hasn't been an appointment. the name of former governor sunny purdue was floated at one point. no announcement was made, and trump and his team have continued to see different candidates for this position. not only is it important as the administrator of so many programs that help rural america, but a lot of trump policy stances that will be
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hugely controversial in the agriculture space, number one. if we get into a trade warr with china, that hurts farmers more than absolutely anyone else in this country. number two, immigration. if there is an attempt to deport a lot of the illegal immigrants currently living in the united states of america, the place it hits hardest is farm work. whoever gets that job is going to have a tough road ahead. >> last certainly but not least. jackie. >> oversight chairman jason chafitz said he wasn't going to look into any possible conflicts with donald trump and his businesses, but he did say that he is willing to look into and has requested trump's contract that he has with the gsa about the old post office business where the trump international hotel is. the contract says a government employee, which trump will be in a couple of days, cannot have a contract with the federal government. talked to him yesterday. he said that they haven't cede the contract yet, but reiterated when they do receive it, that is something that they're going to look into to see if that lease
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is still appropriate. >> manu. >> john, republican leaders i've spoken to are concerned about donald trump's threatening pulling out of nafta. of course, this is something he threatened to do on the campaign trail. we need to renegotiate the trade deal and if not, we're willing to walk away, but john cornyn of texas who does a lot of business -- his state does a lot of business in mexico, says that donald trump should not go that route. same with orrin hatch, the finance committee chairman who oversees trade deals. if trump does actually go that rather extreme route, expect significant pushback from his own party. >> fun to watch that one. i'm going to close with this. one of president-elect's cabinet picks might be having second thoughts. andy is the choice for labor secretary. he is the ceo that owns karlz jr., and he has been taking a pounding from democrats, labor unions, and other liberal groups since being unveiled as trump's choice to lead the labor department. his financial and ethics paperwork, also has not yet been posted by the office of government ethics. i'm told posner in recent days has voiced second thoughts about
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whether it's worth the bruising and the public scrutiny. word is being though, that he is being urged from the top tier at trump tower to stay in the fight. for now his confirmation hearing is on hold, likely not until next month, and his critics promise to keep up the barrage. thanks for watching and joining us on "inside politics" today. wolf starts after a quick break. ♪ ♪ after becoming one of the largest broadband
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>> hello. i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. wherever you are watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. right now we're keeping our eyes on two event that is are happening here in washington d.c. we're watching the white house where president obama will welcome the world champion chicago cubs. the team moved up by their planned visit so they could be there before the president leaves office later this week. we're also watching the lobby at trump tower where the president-elect is expected to meet at this hour with martin luther king

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